Quality - Process Management

The Concept of Processes

The process model consists in considering a company's goal to be to provide products and/or services that meet client expectations. Thus, the company is modeled as a series of processes that allows the company to identify client needs and transform these needs into a deliverable: the product or the service.

From these elements, a process is defined as follows:

An activity or a series of activities that
use resources to convert input elements into output elements
with an added value.

Thus, the identification and formalisation of the company's processes consists in pinpointing the different "activity areas" contributing to a common goal.

Types of Processes

The document FD X 50-176 published by AFNOR in June 2000 details the process approach and defines the 3 process families:

  • The creation processes, which corresponds to the creation of the product or service and therefore to the company's business activity
  • The support processes, which represent a generally horizontal internal activity that ensure the company's smooth operation. The support processes are generally invisible to the client (beneficiary). These processes include financial management, HR management, training, etc.
  • The management processes (sometimes called the steering processes) correspond to the definition of an organization's policy and a strategy and to the steering of the actions taken to achieve the organization's goals.

Process Management

The goal of process management is to breakdown company activities into processes and monitor them in order to line them up with the company's strategic goals.

Thus, a process management approach must include the following steps:

  • Definition and formalisation of the company's strategic goals
  • Analysis of exisiting company processes
  • Identification, for each process, of the input and output elements
  • Definition of interactions between processes
  • Formalisation of the performance criteria (performance indicators) for each process
  • Measurement of the performance of current processes
  • Suggestions to modify the existing processes
  • Proposal of new processes
  • Roll out and implementation of modification proposals
  • Measurement of new performances

Article written on 19 January 2006 by Jean-François Pillou

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